Sara Raj Pant

sara-raj-pant

sara-raj-pant

I am a joint PhD student at the universities of East Anglia (UK) and Groningen (NL). My research interests lie within the fields of behavioural ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation. In particular, I am interested in the evolution of cooperative breeding and other mating strategies. During my PhD, I aim to uncover the evolutionary forces underlying promiscuity, a mating strategy which is widespread across taxa, yet enigmatic from an evolutionary perspective. The Seychelles warbler provides an excellent study system, as this passerine is socially monogamous yet genetically promiscuous (ca. 40% of all offspring are extra-pair). I firstly aim to detect social and environmental factors, as well as individual parameters (body size, health, ageā€¦) which may influence extra-pair reproduction in this species. Further I aim to estimate heritability of promiscuity and its potential genetic correlations with traits under positive selection in males and/or females. These investigations will enable me to unravel the environmental and genetic basis of promiscuity, providing a fundamental understanding of the evolution of this behaviour in this cooperatively breeding study system. As promiscuity and cooperative breeding are widespread phenomena, the results could have wide-reaching consequences, improving our understanding of gene flow in societies, including our own.

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